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October 31, 2014

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Gov. Brian Sandoval puts in request to expand beds, staff at Rawson-Neal

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Sam Morris

This is the front sign for the Rawson Neal Psychiatric Hospital Tuesday, May 7, 2013.

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State human services director Mike Willden talks during a 2009 meeting.

Gov. Brian Sandoval’s administration has unveiled plans to greatly expand the beds and staff at the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital, asking to spend $4 million over two years to upgrade the hospital.

Mike Willden, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services, released details of the department's request Tuesday.

The Legislative Interim Finance Committee must approve the spending of the $4 million, which was placed in a contingency fund at the request of Sandoval.

Willden said plans call for the hiring of 23 more employees, including psychiatrists, mental health technicians, psychiatric care workers, nurses, psychologists and social workers. Eleven of these will be state employees and the rest will be on contract.

About $350,000 is set aside for remodeling of a building on the Rawson-Neal campus to provide beds for up to 22 long-term patients. Rawson-Neal now has 190 beds.

Willden said the hospital wants $30,000 to convert a staff room into a “drop-in center” to handle patients who wait for mental health help in the emergency rooms at hospitals in the Las Vegas area.

The hospital lost its national accreditation Friday from the Joint Commission on Accreditation, which decided the facility did not meet standards. The hospital decided not to appeal; administrators will request a new inspection in the future. The commission does not regulate the hospital but its findings can affect future grants.

Teams from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services were at the hospital last week to evaluate whether changes have been made, especially in the handling of out-of-state patients. The agency cited the hospital for buying bus tickets for patients but failing to provide them with a treatment plan when they reached their destinations. The federal agency can decide whether the government will pay for Medicare and Medicaid patients who are treated at the hospital.

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